At Last

So, I finally have my home office set back up. I have it in my oldest son’s old bedroom now that he has moved out. It’s nice to have a space of my own again. All my books are out on their shelves for the first time in over a year. I forgot how many damn books I have. It took me almost twelve hours to sort them and organize them and put them on the shelves. But it was worth it. I was even able to part with alot of books that I know I will never read. They will go to the Salvation Army and hopefully find homes with people who will enjoy them.

I believe that personal space is very important to a person’s emotional well-being. I know that human beings are social animals that need frequent contact with other human beings, but time alone is important too. I spoze its more important for some people than others. I, for example, am happy being alone most of the time. I am perfectly content not seeing or talking to anyone one else for days at a time. My boyfriend, on the other hand, loves socializing and being the center of attention. Talking is like breathing to him. He would die if he stopped.

So for me, having personal space is very important. Someplace I can go and close the door when I can’t handle being in a room with other people anymore. Where all my stuff is, where no one else is allowed to go or touch things. And, hopefully, a place where I can focus on my writing. As Virginia Woolf once said, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction…” I have the room, now I just need the money. Unlike Woolf, I don’t have an inheritance.

Co-Dependant Writing

Years and years ago, I used to smoke. I know, pretty gross. I started when I was about 11 years old (it was the 80’s dammit) and I was maybe 26 or 27 when I stopped. I didn’t smoke steadily thru all those years, sometimes I would go a year or two without touching them and then relapse back again, mostly because I was around a lot of smokers all the time. But its been over ten years now since I quit.

I especially used to smoke a lot while writing. Even now when I write I sometimes still get the occasional urge to light up a cigarette. Not a craving for nicotine, that passed over a decade ago. And definitely not for the smell or taste, which I find completely repulsive now. But just for the ritual of it. It was an integral part of the writing process for me. When I was thinking of the next sentence or trying to find that perfect word or phrase, I would put down my pen or, once I got a computer, lean back from the keyboard and light up a cigarette and smoke until I was ready to continue writing.

I never feel like smoking at any other time other than when I’m writing tho. I would never actually take up smoking again, even if I thought it would help me write. I can’t stand cigarettes or cigarette smoke. The smell of it actually makes me nauseous now. I avoid smokers like the plague. Very few of my friends or family members smoke and nobody is allowed to smoke inside my house. If I am forced to spend time in a smokey environment I have to go home and take a shower afterwards to get the smell off. So there is no danger of me ever becoming a smoker again.

But I wish there was a way for me to recreate that ritual that’s less disgusting and wont give me cancer. I know some people substitute candy or something, but because I also have a compulsive eating problem, replacing the cigarettes with something like lollipops will only result in me eating the whole package of lollipops and not getting any writing done at all. I don’t want to replace one unhealthy writing ritual with another. Especially since I have the activity level and metabolic rate of a boulder.

I think I need something tho. As somebody with OCD, rituals and systematic processes to doing things are a very important part of getting anything done. And I think that may be part of the reason I am having so much trouble writing. I have no process anymore. I always had a process, whether it was a time of day, or the place I sat, or smoking a cigarette, or using the same pen and notebook, there was always something. The closest thing I have to a process right now is the creative writing group I go to twice a month. Which is really the only time I can guarantee that I will definitely get any writing done. But, lets face it, I’m not gonna get a book written writing for an hour twice a month, not unless I want to be writing it until im eighty.

At the moment I also have no writing space that’s just mine to write in. I have my office, but its in complete disarray right now. Last spring I packed all my belongings up so the room could be used temporarily as a bedroom by my daughter and her husband, and even before that it was more a guest room then an office. There was always a bed in there and since at least one of my children lived with my ex-husband at any given time, that room was used by them whenever they came to visit. And it looks like I might possibly have to re-pack it up in the near future to use as a bedroom again, which is why I havent bothered to finish unpacking it. So it’s still never really been my own space. In a house as small as mine, personal space is very hard for me to come by. And I need a space that is mine to do things my way. As an only child with two working parents and virtually no friends, I grew up alone with a lot of privacy and personal space in which I could do pretty much whatever I wanted in whatever way I wanted to do it with very little outside interference. I know it’s not realistic to expect that kind of space and freedom when I live with so many people.

But right now everything is chaos.

And I need something to enable me to write again. I just have to figure out what it is.